UN -- PROMISED NATIONAL GHG REDUCTIONS ENSURE DISASTROUS LEVELS OF GLOBAL WARMING

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27 november 2018

U.N.: Countries Nowhere Near Targets to Avert Worst Impacts of Climate Change

Without urgent action, countries are on track for disastrous levels of global warming, the United Nations Environment Programme says

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By Alan Neuhauser, Staff Writer US News and World Report, Nov. 27, 2018

To head off an average increase of 2 degrees Celsius in global temperatures, countries will need to triple the emissions reductions goals they set at the Paris climate summit in 2015.Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Countries around the world are nowhere near where they need to be in reining-in greenhouse gas emissions to avert the worst impacts of climate change, according to the latest flagship report by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Heat-trapping emissions last year increased, ending three years of stagnation, the report found. Meanwhile, countries have generally made little progress in setting – let alone achieving – more ambitious targets for reducing such emissions.

To head off an average increase of 2 degrees Celsius in global temperatures – widely seen as the threshold for triggering the most severe consequences of climate change – countries will need to triple the emissions reductions goals they set at the Paris climate summit in 2015, known as "nationally determined contributions." To keep temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels, countries will need a fivefold increase in their targets.

However, in spite of such dire warnings, there is no sign emissions will hit a peak anytime soon.

Current policies project warming of about 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, with warming continuing afterwards, the report says. It goes on to say that it is still technically possible to ensure global warming stays well below dangerous levels, but if nationally determined contributions are not increased before 2030, the goal of keeping temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels cannot be met.

The report comes on the heels of similarly dire assessments from the United States as well as another United Nations body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel's report last month warned that nations have only 12 years to act to avoid catastrophic impacts ranging from extreme heat to floods and droughts. The U.S. National Climate Assessment, meanwhile, catalogued ways that climate change is already wreaking havoc and costing tens of millions of dollars across the U.S.

"Earth's climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities," according to the assessment, which the Trump administration released Friday. "The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future – but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur."

The flurry of reports appears unlikely to galvanize federal action. President Donald Trump, who has previously characterized climate change as a "hoax," has publicly taken issue with the conclusions of the assessment.


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